Here and Now

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Americans' Love Of Diet Soda Fizzing Out

Mar 24, 2015

New data from the market research firm Euromonitor finds that sales of low calorie soft drinks in the United States fell almost 20 percent over the last five years.

By 2019, sales are projected to fall off by a third since their peak in 2009. Diet Coke has seen its sales fall off by 15 percent in the past two years.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson looks at what’s happening in the soda business with Jason Bellini of the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Skaters Aim For Gold At Worlds

Mar 23, 2015

The World Figure Skating Championships begin this week in Shanghai, China.

American skaters like Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, Polina Edmunds, Jason Brown and Josh Farris may stand a chance at getting on the podium, but they are not favored to win gold.

It’s been eight seasons since an American woman won a singles medal at the world or Olympic level, and four for the men.

It’s that time of year: the high school class of 2015 is now receiving college decision letters.

At the same time, current high school freshmen and sophomores will face a revised version of the preliminary SAT or PSAT in the fall of 2015.

The PSAT is an important step before taking the actual SAT but the announced changes may change the way students go about preparing.

China’s top weather official is warning people about the potential impact of climate change.

China’s Xinhua news agency reports that Zheng Guoguang, chief of China’s Meteorological Administration, said climate change could reduce crop yields and lead to “ecological degradation.”

The statements are considered rare, even though China is the world’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

“As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could become more grave,” Zheng said.

There are more than 300 specialty plates in Texas, paying tribute to things like wild turkeys, Dr. Pepper and the fight against terrorism.

But when one group submitted a plate design with their logo — a Confederate flag — it was rejected by Texas officials. On Monday, the constitutionality of that rejection will be considered by the Supreme Court.

At issue is whether the license plates constitute government speech or an individual’s private speech.

Local Sports Become Lucrative Market

Mar 20, 2015

If you’ve been watching March Madness, you’ve probably been watching on CBS, TNT, TBS or Tru-TV. Those networks have the TV rights to the games until 2024.

But if you’re a local sports fan, chances are you do a lot of your sports TV viewing on regional sports networks.

Those networks have become an important source of revenue for the teams whose games they broadcast, and if you pay for cable — you’re probably paying more for your regional sports network than almost any other channel.

Baghdad’s neighborhoods are home to increasing numbers of people who have fled areas controlled by the so-called Islamic State militants.

Many of those displaced come from Anbar province, west of Baghdad. They need aid, and it’s a struggle for the government and international community to get it to them, as the BBC’s Ahmed Maher reports from Baghdad.

2,000 Snow Geese Die In Idaho

Mar 19, 2015

Wildlife experts say avian cholera is responsible for a mass die-off of snow geese in Idaho this month, which left 2,000 of the migratory birds dead. Wildlife officials say they are taking precautions so that it doesn’t spread.

Jeff Knetter, a waterfowl biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game tells Here & Now’s Robin Young about how spectacular it is when tens of thousands of snow geese at once take off in flight.

DJ Sessions: Sam Cooke Fans - Listen Up

Mar 19, 2015

Aaron Byrd of KCRW in Santa Monica has a lot of new music to share with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson, including an artist that Sam Cooke fans will want to hear — he’s talking about Leon Bridges.

Byrd also shares music from the Los Angeles artist Kelela and disco-funk group Tuxedo — which has a less explicit take on a Snoop Dogg classic.

Photos of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson laying on the ground with a bleeding head and police holding his hands behind his back have led to protest on the university’s campus.

Johnson, a third year honor student, was taken in to custody yesterday in front of a bar near the university. Video of him yelling “how did this happen” and calling the arresting Alcohol and Beverage Control officers racists, has prompted the university president to request an administrative review of the incident.

Midwest States Push To Legalize Raw Milk

Mar 18, 2015

Federal health officials say drinking unpasteurized raw milk is unsafe and poses a threat to public health.

But, raw milk is gaining popularity in some circles, so several Midwest states are actually looking to legalize the sale of raw milk in order to regulate it.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Harvest Public Media’s Abby Wendle has more about the push to legalize raw milk.

Over the past few months, a light has been shined on the African-American man’s experience, especially in relation to law enforcement.

Throughout the conversation, much attention has been given to statistics: how many African-American men go to jail, graduate high school and go to college.

Many of these statistics reflect African-American men’s experiences in a negative light, but what if the statistics focused on their positive accomplishments?

A new report from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer finds that New York residents with full-time jobs spend more time commuting than residents of other large U.S. cities, with average commutes of 6 hours and 18 minutes a week.

That translates into 49 hours a week that New York workers spend working and commuting, compared with 42 hours for Los Angeles.

Kathy Gunst Does Breakfast

Mar 17, 2015

Do you skip breakfast? Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst used to. But then she worked on a book about breakfast and became a convert.

Gunst brings us recipes for granola bars, smoothies, and an open face smoked salmon sandwich for Jeremy Hobson to sample.

Can one particular genetic mutation explain why some people are more anxious and less resilient than others?

Scientists at the Weill Cornell Medical College studied a gene mutation discovered about 10 years ago that only about 20 percent of Americans have. It bathes the brain in a sort of ‘natural cannabis.’

The New York Times is calling it the “feel-good gene,” because of the correlation between the mutation and a lack of anxiety, and an ability to bounce back.

The Cornell researchers wanted to know if there was more than a correlation.

Is It The End For Benjamin Netanyahu?

Mar 17, 2015

As voters in Israel head to the polls today, Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life. His once implausible challenger Isaac Herzog has risen in the public opinion polls and could end up the winner in today’s election.

Jerusalem Post’s deputy managing editor Tovah Lazaroff joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to take a look at what’s motivating voters, and what a change in leadership in Israel would mean.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trailing ever so slightly behind his opponents in the Labor Party, just before tomorrow’s parliamentary election. That’s according to the latest and last poll before voters cast their ballots tomorrow.

States Scramble To Comply With Fed ID Cards

Mar 16, 2015

If you have a driver’s license you probably use it for more than driving: you verify your credit card, you prove your age if you want to buy a beer, you prove your identity to get on a plane.

But what if you showed your driver’s license and it was no good?

That’s starting to happen to people in a number of states that have yet to fully comply with the federal government’s REAL ID Act.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jessica Robinson reports from Idaho.

Fish is a slippery business. Managing and policing the seafood industry has proved challenging through the years with reports of over-fishing, controversies about fish farming, and issues of oceanic pollution. Now, we can add seafood fraud to that list.

On Sunday, a task force convened by the Obama administration released an action plan to stop seafood fraud.

Just once per century, the date and time line up with the first 10 digits of the mathematical symbol pi (π). Saturday at 9:26:53 is the big moment.

Pi has perplexed and puzzled mathematicians for millennia. We learn it in school as having something to do with circles, but it turns up as the solution to lots of other problems, even when there are no circles involved.

At a press conference this morning, Dallas police identified a suspect in the March 4 shooting death of Iraqi immigrant Ahmed Al-Jumaili last week. Nykerion Nealon, a black 17-year-old, was arrested last night and charged with murder.

Al-Jumaili was shot while taking pictures of his first snowfall outside his new home in Dallas, Texas. Community leaders say it’s left many Muslims who live in the area feeling afraid.

On Wednesday, Utah approved the first white-collar felon public registry in the country. The registry needs final approval from the governor and it would include a recent photo of white-collar offenders, their eye color, hair color, date of birth, height and weight.

Obama And Unions Clash On Trade Deal

Mar 12, 2015

This week, labor leaders let President Obama know that when it comes to foreign trade, they are living on opposite sides of the tracks – the fast track, that is. That’s a term people use for giving a president the power to negotiate a trade agreement, and then put the final package on a “fast track” through Congress.

Lawmakers can give it a yes-or-no vote, but can’t amend the deal. Presidents have been using this power for decades, but only because Congress has regularly renewed it. Now the authority has expired, which is making it tough for Obama to wrap up an Asian trade deal.

Are Women's Colleges Still Relevant?

Mar 12, 2015

Sweet Briar College, a small women’s school in Virginia, announced last week that it will close in August. Students, faculty, staff and alumnae were caught by surprise. The college’s president, James Jones, announced that enrollment was down and the college couldn’t cover its expenses.

For the first time in about a century, there are no working union coal miners in Kentucky. The state’s few remaining union coal miners were laid off New Years Eve when Patriot Coal’s Highland Mine in Western Kentucky shut down.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Erica Peterson of WFPL reports that the union is struggling to appeal to younger coal miners, but others feel organized labor still has a role to play.

On Tuesday, a California federal jury delivered its verdict after eight days of trial testimony examining whether Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright for Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”

The Gaye estate walked away with a victory and Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay more than $7 million in damages, plus profits attributable to infringement. It is a sad day for the “Blurred Lines” duo, but what could the ruling mean for the music industry?

Are you one of those people who constantly ends up on crutches? Friends say you should be covered in bubble wrap? Well it could be that it’s not your fault. In fact, it could be your genes.

A new review article published in the Journal of Sports Medicine concludes that genetics play a key role in a person’s risk of suffering from sports injuries. That holds true for athletes of all ages and all abilities, from weekend warriors to Olympians.

Why A Strong Dollar Sent Markets Plummeting

Mar 11, 2015

U.S. stock indexes opened a little higher Wednesday, after taking a tumble the day before. The Dow and S & P 500 both fell by close to 2 percent. The moves come as the U.S. dollar continues to make gains against the euro and other currencies. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson takes a look at what’s happening with Maggie Lake of CNN.

People in the United States have shorter lifespans than in almost any other industrialized country in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Lisa Berkman set out to find out why and what can be done about it. She's a professor of epidemiology and public policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Breaking her silence, Hillary Rodham Clinton conceded Tuesday that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of “convenience.”

“At the time, this didn’t seem like an issue,” Clinton said in her first public comments since it was disclosed last week that she exclusively used her private email for government business and housed her communications on a personal server.

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